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a failure to communicate



“This is why men are so sad, why they feel so cut off, why they think of themselves as orphans cast adrift, footloose and stringless in the deep void. What void? she asks. What are you talking about? The void of the universe, he says, and she says, Oh, and looks out the window and tries to get a handle on it, but it’s no use, there’s too much going on, too many rustlings in the leaves, too many voices, so she says, Would you like a cheese sandwich, a piece of cake, a cup of tea? And he grinds his teeth because she doesn’t understand. . .”

margaret atwood, “the female body”


This is a scene from the film Cool Hand Luke.
Paul Newman’s character, Luke, is in jail; his mother comes down to see him. She is sick and dying. She had to go to some trouble to find him there; he didn’t let her know where he had landed.

She wants to reject him, but she can’t. She worries about him all the time. He doesn’t want her to think about him at all. He’s not thinking about himself. In fact, he empties himself out and then she fills him back up, makes him human. He wants her to forget all about him. She can’t do what he wants.

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